A developer is planning to rebuild the Coconut Grove Metrorail station into a self-powered apartment and retail complex.

Grove Central will include a 330-unit apartment tower, along with retail space, parking and a bus station, according to the Miami Herald. Total cost is expected to be $200 million.

Solar panels are planned to cover the buildings, producing two megawatts of power. Underneath, massive batteries that are the size of six shipping containers will store 20-megawatts per hour of electricity.

Air condition for the building would come from a geothermal system using cold water pumped from underground. Groundwater and rainwater will also be used to provide cooling mist and for landscape irrigation.

Enough power could be generated and stored to make the building self-powered, while also powering Metrorail as it departs the station, planners say. The solar array and battery is known as an urban microgrid, and is the first of its kind in Florida.

A waste-to-energy plant that would convert sewage into power, compost and water is also in negotiations.

The developers are awaiting final approval from county transportation officials, with completion expected in 2021. Five other Metrorail stations, as well as 10.7-acres of land next to Miami Central Station by the airport, are now in planning or negotiations for similar sustainable projects.

Terra Group and Grass River Property are the developers of Grove Central, with Touzet Studio the architect. The solar project is also a pilot program for Florida Power & Light.


Source: The Next Miami

According to a USGBC study, green building design is outpacing the growth of conventional construction sector in the US.

GreenJobsPopularity of  green building sector is rapidly increasing and it is set to create more the 2.3 million jobs for Americans, this year – reveals the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study report prepared by Booz Allen Hamilton.

Key findings of this study indicate that the contribution of green building industry is estimated to be more than $134.3 billion towards labor income for working Americans. Experts predict that by 2018, green building sector will create more than 3.3 million jobs, and will exceed one third of the total amount of jobs generated by the conventional construction industry in US. This will result in $190.3 billion towards labor earnings.

The study also dwelled into the economic contribution of sustainable buildings to the US economy and also quantified the economic impact of LEED certified green buildings. Today more than 2.3 million US workers are receiving $134 billion annually; this is because businesses, institutions and individual building owners are prioritizing sustainability for design, construction and operation of buildings. Consecutively this has also led to growing demand of green building programs such as LEED.

“Our research shows that green building has created millions of jobs and contributed hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, with the construction of LEED-certified buildings accounting for about 40 percent of green construction’s overall contribution to GDP in 2015. This industry is certainly on the rise, and aggressive growth in the green building sector is anticipated over the next four years.” Said David Erne, a Senior Associate at Booz Allen.

GreenJobs2In addition to jobs, GDP and labor earnings, prioritization of green building design will also significantly influence tax contributions of individual states and environmental asset indicators at both national and state levels. It is estimated that construction projects for LEED buildings will generate total earnings that will reach around $8.4 billion till 2018. It is also anticipated that the green building sector will generate 1.26 million jobs from 2015 to 2018, in Texas.

GreenJobs3Compared to conventional buildings, a green building with LEED standards, uses less energy and water, it makes optimized use of natural resources and generates lower utility bills. Green homes generate less waste, and cause minimum impact on the land it is built. Living in a green building is healthier and economical for its occupants. Naturally the demand and popularity of green design has increased. As the sector progresses it will also affect the growth green building materials. A BBC research report has indicated that green builting material market will reach $69 billion by 2019.

GreenJobs4While the USGBC study mainly talks about the growth of green building design in US, the trend is also gaining pace in UK, Australia and Middle East and over 60 other countries.

Earlier there were no clear drivers of green design, however the 2012 survey reported that client and market demand are the key drivers for green building design adoption. This demand has just kept on increasing and there is no looking back – today –

  • Firms are finding business value and immense opportunities from green buildings – this not only includes economic benefits but also an opportunity to contribute towards environmentally responsible building design.
  • Building owners and developers across the globe are prioritizing a sustainable approach towards building design. Becoming self-reliant for energy needs has become a popular trend as the NZEB wave has gripped the industry.
  • Today home owners are also demanding for more than just plush interiors and impressive exteriors, they want lower utility bills without compromising on comfort and aesthetics.

Green building design plays a pivotal role in introducing energy efficiency in buildings and hence lower utility bills and has set a benchmark for design, construction and operation of buildings.


Source: Archinect

Providing better incentives and more financing options are among the ways to encourage commercial building owners to invest in green technology in Houston, a report concludes.

The recent report unveiled at Rice University includes an action plan with recommendations that could apply to a range of buildings, from the smallest strip centers to the tallest towers. The report follows a three-day workshop, the Houston Energy Efficiency in Buildings Laboratory, that brought business and city leaders together in October to discuss how to save energy in the commercial sector by at least 30 percent. The group said this saving would contribute to more than $500 million in the local economy, enough to power 10 midsize power plants.

Houston was one of the first cities in the world targeted for this effort, sponsored by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development. Previous cities were San Francisco, Shanghai, Mumbai and Warsaw.

William Sisson, co-chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, said some of the same roadblocks found in Houston exist in other cities that have been part of this effort. He said local support is key. “In my experience, the business community is definitely out in front and looking for ways to save cost, enhance the bottom line and make their assets more attractive,” Sisson said. He said the challenges are to communicate to individuals the larger benefit of such investing, ensuring there is adequate capital available for them to do so and making sure that public policy keeps up with what the market is doing.

Good For Society

A condenser pump at 2 Houston Center helps save energy. A report calls for more financing options for green energy. Photo: Gary Fountain, Freelance

A condenser pump at 2 Houston Center helps save energy. A report calls for more financing options for green energy. Photo: Gary Fountain, Freelance

The final report essentially argues that it makes business sense to invest in energy-efficient technologies. It also appeals to the public sector, saying that reduced air pollution and improved public health will be a societal good. It focuses primarily on lower-tier building owners who have been more reluctant to invest. Action-plan items include raising awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency in buildings, targeting communications and providing case studies to building owners.

The plan includes financing solutions, such as energy service agreements that reward companies for reducing energy usage, and calls for creating more transparency in collecting energy data on buildings because owners may not have access to their tenants’ energy output. Strategies recommended by the panel include raising awareness through city initiatives and publicizing how much money companies can save through more efficient operations.

Already in Houston, the top tier, or Class A, office buildings compete for LEED certifications and energy-efficient building has become standard. Yet the lower-tier class B and C owners and tenants are less aware of the role and importance of energy efficiency. Those owners also do not have the scale or structure to pursue energy efficiency investments. The report concluded that incentives offered for green building do not do enough for the smaller owners and operators.

Mayor’s Goals

The report said that while Houston has progressive building codes, their reach and enforcement are limited, even as green building has become a focus for Mayor Annise Parker. She announced goals to reduce greenhouse gas emission by80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050. Emissions already have fallen by 32 percent since 2007. The city has also launched the largest LEED-streetlight conversion in the country. The report says Houston is ranked fifth nationally for the number of LEED-certified projects, with 369.

Gavin Dillingham, research scientist with the Houston Advanced Resource Center, which will lead the effort to create awareness and promote new policies in the area, said he hopes to show business owners why energy-efficient practices are good for business and show the government that these practices have societal benefits. “We need to be ahead of the curve and operate as efficiently as possible,” Dillingham said. “There is definitely an opportunity to improve.”


Source: Houston Chronicle